Opening the Floodgates of Memorable Moments
The following is a paper I wrote for a writing group on the topic we had selected at our previous gathering: Memorable Moments. I chose the above title for my piece, “Opening the Floodgates,” since it seems to represent my current experience of memorable moments. The writing group gathering was Thursday, July 25. There are seven of us in the group – four of us have been members since the group started 14 or so years ago.
Any more, when I reflect on memorable moments in my life I notice that the distant ones that seemed so dramatic at the moment have fallen into obscurity and new ones appear – seemingly moment by moment. Memorable moments have become a way of life, or, rather, increasingly are my life! Let me give some examples of these experiences…
Tuesday night Pat and I listened to the recording we had made of our most recent Skype session with Sage and Anthony, our couples’ counselor team in Toronto. After Sage and Anthony left the call, the recording continued. In listening to these musings between Pat and me after the call had ended I noticed that we had commented to each other on how much FUN this time with Sage and Anthony was. I realized that experiencing our connection with Sage and Anthony as fun was, in a very real way, an awakening for me. Pat and I laugh about being “Fun Challenged,” but our session with Sage and Anthony was clearly experienced as fun – you know fun when you experience fun. We realized that this Fun experience of relating was different from other things we may have considered should be fun, say, for example, the fun of our experiences of vacationing in New York, or going to a movie, or out for a fine meal, or, for me, being absorbed in my photography, or going for a walk at the nature center, or perhaps even sex. This fun in relating to Sage and Anthony, what they call “Reverent Relating,” was somehow different in its very nature, and new, a felt sense. I realized the pleasure in this fun of relating, a pleasure I could truly come to value, even treasure, if only I could experience it more often in my life. It had been a taste of sweetness. I wanted to hang on to this taste of relating. An experience of fun for one who is fun-challenged – yes, this reminder last night that we had had fun in “reverent relating” with Sage and Anthony made the experience with Sage and Anthony in our session a memorable moment!
My reflections continued into my morning meditation the next day. In this meditation/reflection time I realized that while I experienced this feeling of “reverent relating” as fun with Sage and Anthony in our session, I did not experience this reverent relating as fun with Pat, even though Pat was sitting right next to me on the Skype call. With Pat I was still encumbered by aspects of my “insecure attachment disorders” that I have carried and built upon since birth, thereby creating a “safe” structure (read “prison”) for being in the world without relating in a healthy way to others who are with me in the world. How could I feel more reverent relating with Sage and Anthony than I do with Pat, especially since the point of our couples counseling sessions is to create this experience of reverent relating between the two of us?
In my morning meditation I then let other experiences of relating float up for observation, such as my connection with my Pathwork buddy Jenny who, in our most recent call, expressed how much she values all I have contributed to Sevenoaks and to Pathwork down through the years. I felt valued by Jenny and welcomed by her. Or with my helper, Moira, and her constant affirmation of my value as a “merely and utterly human being,” yet a human being housing the God-Man Self that “Gary” is in his Essence — calling forth and welcoming my Essence. Or with other teachers at Sevenoaks who seem to “get” me and appreciate me, again welcoming the real me into this world. Or even Sage who shared after this most recent session that at moments in the session she had experienced the Christ within me — more calling forth of my Divine Essence, more valuing and welcoming of my Divine Essence — a refreshing, inspiring … but not familiar message. And, because I was not seeing, valuing or welcoming these aspects of myself arising from within, I struggle to take in these “sightings of my Divine Essence” when others share with me what they experience at times when they are with me. I found I had been for the most part dismissing these positive relating experiences, pushing them away. Who is the “I” pushing these experiences of “Essence valuing” away?
And what about other relationships, especially with women? Of course with Mom I did not feel seen in my essence at a Soul level but rather felt seen only in my performance and achievements. This carried over to my 34-year marriage, but was not my ex-wife’s doing – it was how I took in my ex-wife’s love, or perhaps how I didn’t take in her love. It seemed to me that she had seen in me a man whom she wanted (the performer) and not the man I was. In fact I would not allow her to see me at a deeper level, not being open as yet to true vulnerability and closeness that comes with valuing and sharing my “Real Self.” Yet she would have been capable of more if I would have been more conscious and open to receiving more – if I could have been open to the Real me at a Soul level rather than holding onto my external image of myself as the performer. I could see the sadness brought on by my unwillingness to be my Real Self when I was with her.
As my morning meditation continued I went down the list of other transformational relationships with women in my life. I could see that one of the most powerful relationships successfully expanded my spirituality, pulling me out of the structure of Lutheran Church where I had been entrenched for over 50 years. She had opened me to a path of rich new vibrant spirituality, a spirituality that ultimately led me to Pathwork, though Pathwork was not her path at all. Yes, though I was unconscious of what she saw and was calling forth in me, this woman was calling forth and valuing my Soul, my Divine Essence, or so it seems retrospectively. Another woman awakened me sexually in my physicality, but alas, a relationship that, sadly and with remorse, I had to exit in search of the deeper and more holistic relationship for which my Soul longed, though this longing was not clearly formed or conscious — not at all, it seems retrospectively.
So here I am with Pat. I am very aware that my Soul, my Divine Essence saw and sees in Pat the potential for this holistic relationship, for reverent relating, for which it so longs. My Soul intuits that Pat sees and values my Soul, even more than I do. And on some level I value her Soul, her Real Self, as well. We have been in a committed relationship for over ten years, so why do I not feel this joy of a reverent relating in my relationship with Pat, the relating that I had felt, if only for a moment, with Sage and Anthony?
As I sat with this painful truth of not feeling reverent relating with Pat I got the point that truly the issue is me and always has been me! With Pat, as with other pivotal women in my life, I have been relying on her or them to create an environment for me to have a joyous experience of reverent relating — Soul to Soul, Real Self to Real Self, Divine Essence to Divine Essence. But Pat will not collude with what Pathwork calls my lower-self aspects, my distortions and misconceptions about what relationships are all about.
I realized that I could not rely on Pat to “save” me from my own issues, my own Real Self denial. Rather, I needed to come to a reverent relating with myself, with my God-Man Self, with my Soul, my Real Self. I needed to see, feel, accept, honor, value and treasure the Christ Light in me, a process of enlightenment to which I am coming to see Christ is calling me to pursue! My estrangement from the Christ in me, the Christ Light that is my own Essence, is my fundamental Split, my participation in the Fall, using the vocabulary of the metaphysical framework of Pathwork, or, of course, the bible.
If I don’t even experience the Christ that is in me, the Christ that I intellectually know IS me, I certainly cannot surrender to that Christ part in me. Intellectually I know that if I could surrender to the Christ that is me, then my actions, feeling, and thoughts would flow freely, would live and move in the spontaneity that Life is. No, I realized that I hold back my spontaneity; I keep my ego, not my Divine Essence, at the helm of my Ship of Life, keeping myself “safely” separate from my God-Man Self that is Calling me forth. So before Pat or any other person can connect with me in a healthy holistic relationship, I have to connect with me in a healthy holistic relationship!
AND there is more. I seem not only not to experience my Essence, that aspect of me from Source, that Christ within, that Light within, I literally feel my lower self aspect’s negative intentionality defiantly refusing to surrender to any Christ or any Light within, refusing to truly VALUE my Essence. My lower self aspects “cringe” at the Light of Christ, as Pathwork would say. My lower self aspects love darkness and blindness where Truth cannot be seen. Yes indeed, I can literally feel my lower self aspects, my distortions of the Life Force, my pride, self-will, and fear, cringing at the Light that Christ is, the Light that illumines the Real Gary so that the Real Gary can be valued — by himself and by others. All of this resistance of the Light, this love for blindness and living in the dark, is a further consequence of the Fall.
At this point in my meditation, I recalled the picture on the wall behind Sage and Anthony on our Skype call. It is Christ in the Temple painted by Heinrich Hofmann in 1881 (at age 57). I recognized it instantly from my Lutheran days – it had hung somewhere in the church it seemed. But why did Sage have it? She said it reminded her of the Light of Truth of the young Christ in the midst of the old men who were the Scribes and Pharisees who were so attached to their fixed rigid laws, to living in the darkness. I bought my own copy of this print and had it framed. Then I asked myself, “Am I called to be the Christ in the Temple – the inner Christ, the inner Light, to illumine the the inner Temple that is me? And is this inner light of Christ to illumine the inner dark places in me, my lower self nature, that darkness represented by the much older Scribes and Pharisees surrounding Christ in Hoffmann’s painting? Those older parts who, in their blindness and in the total darkness that blindness brings, cannot see and value my Essence as part of the Divine Creation that I am. These dark energies cringe at the Christ Light of Truth that would reveal my Divinity, my True God-Man Essence. Yes my lower nature cringes at this light, knowing that this Light of Christ from within would reveal the Truth of who I am. This inner battle of resisting the Light within (and the Light and Love from without through others) goes on relentlessly within me. My Lower Self Aspects are terrified of the Light of Christ that would reveal the truth of who I am!
My 30-minute meditation time was coming to an end, and I noticed just how energized I felt, literally an experience of “the Truth shall you free.” So once again I was in a state of Joy, another memorable moment, this time an insight, a mini-awakening, on the heals of the experience of “fun” that had come up the night before.
After my meditation Pat joined me. I was on fire and shared my experiences. Then Pat shared her version of the battle of the darkness in her against the Light within her, against the Light that would reveal and allow her to treasure her Divine Essence. Her concluding words to our 40-minute coffee time together musing over these rich topics were, “Without this time together in the morning I could not step into my day.” So in our coffee time there were many more memorable moments, but this time they were shared between us. Memorable moments upon memorable moments, what more could I want from life! Could this be an expression of reverent relating with Pat? Could this all be part of a newly emerging memorable moment, or perhaps the emerging of a New Life of memorable moments, a life of true intimacy and closeness unlike the life I or we have felt or could even imagine? Perhaps it is! We must continue this journey.
Shared in love, Gary